Sir Edward Pakenham was the second son of the Earl of Longford and the brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington. He joined the British army in 1794 at a young age, and worked his way up to major general by January 1, 1812. He served in the Peninsula Campaign is Spain and Southern France during the Napoleonic wars. He fought at Fuentes de Onoro, but he gained much acclaim for his performance at Salamanca, where he led the division that broke the French center. The Duke of Wellinton often said that this was the "best-manouvered battle in the whole war."
When General Ross died in the War of 1812 in America, Pakenham was selected to lead his division, which was now to be sent into the ill-fated Louisiana campaign. He arrived late due to bad winds, and by that time the British had already landed below New Orleans and each side had already lost in excess of 200 men. Pakenham had the unlucky opportunity to be pitted against one of the greatest American generals ever, Andrew Jackson. He set up British cannon, but they were destroyed by American guns on January 1, 1815.
Soon after, both British and American sides were reinforced, and it is claimed that if Pakenham had patiently let his own plans develop, he might have actually taken New Orleans. His plan was to attack on both sides of the Mississippi River before dawn on January 8, but there was a delay in crossing the great river, and he gave the signal to attack before his men on the Westbank were ready. The Battle of New Orleans which followed was an embarrassment on a grand scale, with British casualties at 2000 dead before they even realized what the hell was going on. The battle was poorly manouvered and the British underestimated American forces, which consisted of Louisiana, New Orleans, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee militia (The famous Tennessee Volunteers), Choctaw warriors, a large number of free men of color and slaves, and a group of pirates from Jean Lafitte's operation at Barataria. Also, a technological superiority allowed Americans a window of 100 yards in which the British could not fire back at them, due to the short range of muskets.
Pakenham was mortally wounded in battle, supposedly by the Tennessee Volunteers, and during the retreat he was taken behind British lines, where he died in what is today called The Pakenham Oaks. His dying words urged his successor to continue the attack, but the guy was no moron, and the British retreated back through Lake Borgne from whence they came. Pakenham's body was allegedly transported back home to England in a pickle barrel.
Today in New Orleans, people (perhaps without ground) remember Pakenham as the arrogant twit of an antagonist who got his ass beat by Andrew Jackson in The Battle of New Orleans.